Published on June 22nd, 2012 | by Steven Hodson1
Holes In Our Asteroid Detection System Shows How Lucky We Were
Apparently we were pretty lucky recently when Earth got buzzed by a 500 m wide asteroid that scientists didn’t even know was headed our way.
Even though we have been creating a pretty sophisticated asteroid detection system is seems that there are still some fairly big blind spots in it as is shown by the fact that on June 10 the astronomers at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales in Australia spied an asteroid that was going to pass the planet at about 3.4 million miles out.
That is in reality still a long way out and no real danger to Earth but the problem is that no one even knew the asteroid was out there until four days before it would pass by the planet. If it had been on a collision course those four days wouldn’t have given us enough time to try and respond to the threat.
To add insult to injury, once the asteroid was closer to earth it was discovered that it was almost twice as large as previously believed at 0.62 miles wide. Scientists say the reason the size observations were so off was because the surface of the asteroid was very dark and didn’t reflect light. The reason the asteroid went unobserved until it was so close to our planet had to do with the fact that it was detected in the southern hemisphere skies were we have a few asteroid watching programs.